English has really wormed its way into the everyday Swiss vernacular. On occasion I’ve heard someone begin a sentence with “Enyvay…” (anyway) and continue on in Swiss-German, or she’ll add a phrase or interjection to punctuate the dialog. “Vow” (wow). Often you’ll pass someone saying “sheet” (darn it).*
Last week we celebrated a birthday in my German class. The birthday girl brought a few small cakes and cookies to share with everyone and we started singing “happy birthday” in English. After our teacher prompted us to sing the German version, I began again: “Heppie birsday to you”.
* This practice annoys many people for one reason or another, but c’est la vie, oder? (“Oder?” is similar to the Canadian “eh?”) I should say the Swiss have adopted words and phrases from other languages as well, but English seems to cause the most distress.